Advertising

Published on December 17, 2021

Circuit Training Workouts Routine For Beginners (The Complete Guide)

Advertising
Circuit Training Workouts Routine For Beginners (The Complete Guide)

Gone are the days of plugging away one set at a time on a stand-alone strength machine. Thankfully, the focus is moving away from single-joint exercises to moving the body three-dimensionally. After all, we live in a three-dimensional world, so the body needs to move in all ranges of motion, not just one.

Designing a training program performing exercises that move the body forward, back, side-side, and twisting allows the body to adapt to everyday movement patterns outside the gym. If we train in all ranges of motion, the body is armed and ready to move safely and confidently through the day, minimizing the potential for injury.[1]

If you are new to exercise or getting back at it after a long hiatus, you should begin with a comprehensive circuit routine that focuses on technique, moves your body in all dimensions, and targets all the major muscle groups is a great place to start.

What Is Circuit Training?

Circuit training is a style of programming that combines a set number of exercises (five to ten) performed back to back for a set time, followed by short periods of rest. Circuit training is often confused with High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). While both offer a fair amount of flexibility and creativity, there are notable differences.

Circuit Training

  • Exercise type varies.
  • Comprised of 5-10 exercises performed back to back
  • Perform 1-4 circuits within a workout depending on time
  • Perform each exercise for time or repetitions
  • Each station alternates the upper and lower body to avoid overuse
  • Controls the intensity to ensure the proper technique
  • Uses the Rate of Perceived Exertion Scale (0=no effort and 10= maximal effort). The effort ranges from 5-8 (RPE).
  • Workouts are 20 to 60 minutes.

High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

  • The intensity of the workout varies.
  • HIITs were initially designed for cardiovascular endurance.
  • Perform each exercise at maximal effort RPE of 8-10.
  • Work to rest ratios is smaller. For instance, performing an exercise (Jump Squats) using a Tabata style: 20 sec of work followed by 10 sec of rest for eight rounds.

One of the most common challenges with exercise is boredom, staying motivated and consistent for the long hall, and learning to program a safe workout. It is hard to get bored when you are moving from one exercise to another and have to focus on proper technique, muscle recruitment, and counting repetitions, or watching the clock. With a well-designed circuit program, you will solve these issues and feel motivated to keep going as you build your confidence.

Advertising

I use circuit work to avoid boredom, help clients avoid unnecessary injuries, rehabilitate from previous injuries, improve cardiovascular fitness and strength, mobility, flexibility, and overall body awareness and control. Circuit training is also beneficial if you are short on time and looking to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of your workouts.

Please be aware that if you are not used to working out with higher intensity, begin slowly and always consult with a professional and your doctor before any workout to ensure it is an appropriate place to start.

DIY Circuit Program

Take all the guesswork out of designing a circuit program. Once you have learned the steps to put your program together, the options are endless. There are different variables to consider when planning your program: current fitness level, physical limitations, goals, equipment, and time available.

Every time I change my routine, I start small then build up. Below is a simple blueprint using just your body weight to get you started. You can adjust them as your variables change.

Step 1: Determine Your Timeframe

Decide how many sets, repetitions, or amount of time you will perform each exercise based on your current fitness level and timeframe.

Advertising

  • Beginner: 1 -2 sets of 10-15 repetitions or 30 sec of work 20 sec of rest
  • Intermediate: 2-3 sets of 10-12 repetitions or 45 sec of work 10-20 sec of rest
  • Advanced : 3-5 sets or 8-12 repetitions or 60 sec of work 10-30 sec of rest

Always warm up before beginning any exercise program, and rest a minute after each complete set of exercises

Step 2: Select Your Exercises

Select two from each group:

Upper Body Exercises

  • Elevated Push-Ups – Perform this exercise off your kitchen counter, chair, or coffee table before moving to the floor.
  • Mt Climbers
  • Bear Crawl Hold
  • High Plank Shoulder Taps
  • Walk-Out
  • Elevated High to Low Plank – Perform this exercise off a chair or coffee table if you are a beginner.

Lower Body Exercises

  • Squats
  • Stationary Lunges
  • Side Lunges
  • Step-Ups
  • Deadlifts
  • Floor Bridge

Core

  • Deadbug
  • Core Roll-Up – Perform 1/2 roll back if this exercise is too difficult.
  • Butterfly Sit-Ups
  • Forearm Plank Rock – Perform this exercise off a chair or coffee table if you are a beginner.
  • Side Plank Hip Drop
  • Single-Leg Jack Knife

Cardiovascular

  • Jumping Jacks
  • Jump Rope
  • Running
  • High Knee Skips
  • Lateral Hops
  • Side to Side Shuffle

Step 3: Putting It All Together

Below is an example of a circuit training workout by putting all the factors mentioned in steps one and two together.

Beginner: 1-2 sets or 30 sec of work and 20 sec of rest (per side where applicable)

  1. Elevated Push-Up
  2. Bear Crawl Hold
  3. Squats
  4. Deadlifts
  5. Forearm Plank Rock
  6. Single-Leg Jack Knife
  7. High Knee Skips
  8. Side to Side Shuffle

Rest for one minute after completing one round of each exercise.

Advertising

Want to Leave It to the Pros?

Below, I’ve designed a progressive total body circuit training workout that you can begin right now to build strength, flexibility, mobility, and endurance. There are three sets of circuit workouts with three stages each. Perform each stage of the program once or twice a week for four weeks. Once you have mastered the first stage easily, move on to the next one.

     

    How to Make the Circuit Training Workouts Easier?

    If you are new to exercise and are focused on technique, slow it down and modify each movement. Elevate it using your kitchen counter or coffee table if you can’t do a push-up on the floor. Don’t want to jump? No problem. Take the jump out of any squat, perform step-out jacks, or do imaginary jump rope with alternating forward steps.

    As you progress, continue decreasing the height of the table for push-ups, add the jump back in, or increase the speed and amount of repetitions completed within the time frame. The important thing is to learn each movement safely and have fun.

    Advertising

    Want to Kick It Up a Notch?

    If you have been working out consistently with great technique for more than four to six months, it is time for a well-deserved upgrade. But if you are home with minimal equipment, creating additional overload (an essential concept in strength training to increase the size and strength of the muscle and a whole other topic) is challenging but not impossible.

    As a beginner who is working out consistently, gaining strength and some muscle is relatively simple because you go from doing sporadic exercise to becoming more serious and organized about your workouts. As you get stronger, you will need to get creative with your programming and make the exercises harder over time.

    In the chart above, time under tension is one of the best ways to do it if you aren’t adding extra weight. I would also add a couple of isometric holds within the 60 second period. For instance, perform five repetitions of a push-up, hold for five seconds in the contraction phase, then complete five more push-ups. Repeat this sequence for the remainder of the time.

    Final Thoughts

    Don’t let circuit training workouts intimidate you. Beginning with a few exercises and moving at your own fitness level is a great starting point. It will keep you interested as you transition from exercise to exercise.

    Featured photo credit: Fortune Vieyra via unsplash.com

    Advertising

    Reference

    More by this author

    Tara Mazanec

    Master Personal Trainer, Holistic Health Counselor and Yoga Instructor

    Best Fitness Trackers to Get in 2022 To Stay on Top of Your Health Circuit Training Workouts Routine For Beginners (The Complete Guide) How To Stay Motivated For Making Healthy Lifestyle Changes Think Getting Old Sucks? Here’s Why Aging Doesn’t Have to Suck Best Bodyweight Workouts For Beginners (The Complete Guide)

    Trending in Exercise & Training

    1 Best Fitness Trackers to Get in 2022 To Stay on Top of Your Health 2 7 Practical Stretching Tips to Enhance Your Next Workout 3 Daily 15-Minute Stretching Routine to Stay Fit and Flexible 4 7 Strategies on How to Motivate Yourself to Work out 5 10 Best HIIT Workout Exercises to Burn Calories Fast

    Read Next

    Advertising
    Advertising

    Last Updated on January 26, 2022

    Best Fitness Trackers to Get in 2022 To Stay on Top of Your Health

    Advertising
    Best Fitness Trackers to Get in 2022 To Stay on Top of Your Health

    Years ago, when I started my wellness journey and looked for the best fitness trackers, I was familiar with a few wearable step counters, aka the pedometer, Fitbit, Polar, and more recently, the Apple Watch. These wireless wearable “bracelets” offer high-tech fitness and health metrics at the press of a button.

    I didn’t realize how many tracker brands there were, and I felt as overwhelmed as when I walked down the cereal aisle.

    How do you decide which fitness tracker is right for you with so many to review? Below, I will share my experience and research to remove the confusion and overwhelm, and I hope it helps you decide.

    It was also fun to discover that step counting originated in the early 1700s by a Horologist and inventor Abraham-Louis Perrelet. It was later suggested that Tomas Jefferson created the first mechanical pedometer.[1]

    Fitness trackers—or wearable health devices as we know them today—later surfaced in 1965 by Dr. Yoshiro Hatano, a Japanese professor at the Kyushu University of Health and Welfare. His research offered a method to combat obesity and created the Mankoe-Kei pedometer, translated to “10,000 step meter.”

    Fitness trackers and, more recently, smartwatches have come a long way. With multiple styles, features, and price ranges to select, it can be challenging to find the best choice. With so many options to choose from, which one is the best? And how do you decide?

    Let’s briefly look at some of the most popular brands and the similarities and differences between a fitness tracker and a smartwatch. Let’s also look at the pros and cons of wearable trackers to see if they develop or hinder motivation.

    Fitness Trackers vs. Smartwatches

    There is quite a bit of overlap between the two, but the fitness tracker is the way to go if you want to keep things simple and focus solely on your fitness and daily activity. Both also offer an app experience to review several health statistics.

    However, the smartwatch takes it up a notch by sending notifications and updates from your phone to your wrist. If you are looking for a detailed tech analysis, I will link the website to the brand.

    Suppose simplicity and interest in reviewing the below top health metrics are the primary reasons for choosing a fitness tracker. In this case, selecting a wearable step counter and affordable fitness wristband is the way to go—no need to get caught up in data analysis paralysis.

    • Tell time
    • Step counter
    • Calories burned
    • Heart rate

    If you are interested in additional advanced features, want to receive a detailed analysis of all the following health metrics, and need your wearable to track more than just your health, a smartwatch would be the way to go.

    Advertising

    • Breathing rate
    • Resting variability
    • Skin temperature
    • Oxygen saturation
    • Movement notification
    • Female health tracking
    • Sleep monitor
    • GPS tracker
    • Receive calls, texts, and emails
    • Workable apps such as mobile payments and music storage

    So, how do you choose the brand? It all depends on personal preference, ease of use, style, and how many details of your health and fitness data you would like to analyze.

    Bear in mind, there may be various products within each brand, each offering something a little different based on when it hit the market. Here are some of the best fitness trackers and smartwatches in the market.

    The best thing about these wearables is that they all track your health and fitness from super simple to more advanced. Let’s compare a few statistics to see how each stack up against their competitor.

    1. Fitbit

      Price Range: $80 to $200

      Battery length between charges: up to 6 days

      Launched in 2007, Fitbit offers nine different models and 21 products to choose from, offering everything from a simple clip-on pedometer to fitness wristbands to the latest in the high-tech smartwatch. Easy to set up, sync to the app, and use immediately, each watch can meet the needs of basic use to high-tech statistical analysis.

      2. Apple Watch

        Price Range: $199 to $429

        Limited battery life between charges – charge every two days

        The Apple Watch is a multifunctional wellness tracker and phone on your wrist. Launched in 2015, Apple Watch offers two models with a slue of tech specs that change yearly.

        Advertising

        Prices are steep. It takes time to navigate with all the bells and whistles, but this watch has many unique features that most brands don’t offer. If you are a multi-tasker and are looking for a watch that could almost cook you dinner, this would be the one.

        3. Samsung Galaxy

          Prices Range: $60 to $350

          Battery life between charges – 2.5 to 4 days

          In 2014, Samsung introduced its first fitness wristband designed to be just an activity tracker, then later the smartwatch. With two models to select from (each having yearly updates), this brand offers all the above specs.

          One thing sets it apart from the rest: Samsung is the first smartwatch to measure body composition, namely Weight, Skeletal Muscle, Body Fat Mass, BMI (Body Mass Index), Water, and BMR (Basel Metabolic Rate).

          4. Polar

            Price Range: $90 to $500

            Battery life between charges – up to 4 days

            Polar is not just a fitness tracker but also a sports science and technology on your wrist. Polar offers heart rate monitoring, fitness tracking, and GPS sports tracking.

            This watch is great for athletes looking to improve athletic performance and exercise enthusiasts looking to improve their overall health. They are the leaders in heart rate monitoring and offer proprietary Smart Coaching technology. This technology turns your training data into personalized, actionable training guidance.

            Advertising

            5. Timex

              Price Range: $45 to $180

              Extended Battery life – 12 to 14 days

              Timex, the foundation builder for smartwatches, began in 1994 with a watch made for space flight for NASA. Timex has everything, from the basics of calorie counting, stopwatch, step counting, and distance traveled to ironman smartwatch capabilities with GPS tracking.

              If you are a runner, cyclist, or swimmer and are just interested in the basics, this one is for you. With a durable design (Aluminum Alloy Case and Gorilla Glass™), these watches were designed to last forever.

              It is also one of the most stylish fitness watches and has the most affordable smartwatch on the market, coming in at only $180 compared to other popular brands. Expect this watch to cover all your health metrics and offer a great battery life in between charges.

              6. Garmin

                Price Range: $149 to $1,149

                Battery life in between charges – between 5 to 50 days (Yes, you read that correctly.)

                Garmin Smartwatch, founded in 2014, doubles as the leader in GPS wearable tracking devices and high-performing athletic data tracking watches on the market. It is one of the best brands with a fantastic battery life with the Garmin Enduro (made for endurance athletes and ultra-marathon runners), clocking in at 50 days.

                If you aren’t the athletic type and want to stay off the grid and use it to track your activity, Garmin is also an excellent choice. But be sure to know what you want before investing because Garmins price point can be pretty steep due to the premium material in its design.

                Advertising

                There are two products on the market worth mentioning that focus on how your body is functioning, so you are well-rested and ready to go for your next workout. We focused on multifunction health and fitness devices around fitness and wellness specifics. But what about recovery? Meet Oura Ring and Whoop.

                7. WHOOP Fitness and Health Membership

                  Price Range: monthly membership is $30 (additional premium upgrades)

                  Battery life in between charges – 4 to 5 days

                  WHOOP, founded in 2011, is a fitness and recovery tracking all in one. It monitors your sleep, recovery, and daily effort 24/7, then delivers in-depth feedback on how you can optimize your performance.

                  If knowing when to push harder or rest is vital to improving your performance, this tracker is a sure winner. Join as a member, and you will receive the latest WHOOP wearable for free—every time another generation is released.

                  8. The Oura Ring

                    Price: $200

                    Battery life in between charges: 4 to 7 days

                    The Oura Ring, founded in 2013, is focused on sleep quality and recovery, so it will not track your fitness or daily activity. Features include tracking your motion, heart rate, and temperature to tell you how well you are sleeping and recovering your body.

                    Final Thoughts

                    The purpose of health and wellness trackers is to create awareness around increasing one’s daily activity level and provide a valuable tool for tracking important health and non-health-related statistics. Make a list of the essential features you will consistently keep track of and interest you, and perhaps that will ease the pain when choosing which best fitness tracker to use.

                    Advertising

                    Which one you choose is entirely up to you, and you can spend months researching over every spec. The most important thing is that you don’t get caught up in the minute details and keep moving.

                    Featured photo credit: dusan jovic via unsplash.com

                    Reference

                    Read Next